After a rather grand opening fanfare, like a synth-borne liner proceeding slowly down the slipway, "Wake Me Up" and "Every Little Thing" set the tone of his new album Passion—brisk, silvery, synthetic soul coming at you in a shower of micro-beats that recall every production technique of the last two decades. "Vibrations + Poisoned Apples Interlude" is a segmented piece, commencing with a field recording of what sounds like a typically ill-tempered Parisian traffic jam, before the title is chanted over a cleansed and rinsed Burial backbeat, the scene then shifting to include skewed hip-hop beats that bring back hazy memories of MC Solaar.
"When The Night" follows, another highly polished slab of old school neo-funk, the sparks flying upward as an agonised soul vocal flies its face in a micro-blizzard of nuts, bolts and shards of IDM, techno and recycled disco samples. "Lean On Me," the first single from the album, featuring vocals by Teki Latex, takes you on a similar ride, a series of impossible 2-step twists and turns that hark all the way back to the early '80s.
There's none of the dark side about Passion. "Love Ave" is dappled and pretty, a genuine waft of vitamin D, while "You" is a neat homage to Daft Punk (remixed by Para One in the past), with its nicely twisted neon plastic tubing and strangulated vocoders. "The Talking Drums" marks a slight shift of mood, with its slightly stern injunctions to submit to the lure of the rhythm, while closer "Empire" ends the album on a similarly grandiose note to its beginning, its luxurious cascades of synth faintly recalling the solemnity of Art Of Noise. But overall Passion is an angst-free experience, finely wrought with a view to banishing the black and the blues.